Featured Artist of the Month
Londra has many fans in the Celtic Cafe community, based on his years with Riverdance
-- now he can garner even more admirers, thanks to the availability of his brand-new,
We were introduced to that incredibly beautiful
voice in first the Lagan, then the Lee and then the Broadway (Shannon) companies
of Riverdance. But what of the years before that?
In Ireland, Michael Londras
talent as a theatrical performer is widely acknowledged, having performed as lead
in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and roles like Pish
Tush in The Hot Mikado, Charlie in Brigadoon and Joe in
Some Like It Hot -- all major hits in Dublin. He performed the title
role in the Irish premiere of "Martin Guerre" at the Irish National
Concert Hall and in the famed Olympia theater. At age 30 he had given up a career
as a therapist for people with learning disabilities and taken to the "wicked
In 1997, he was chosen to play Bobby Kennedy by the acclaimed
theater director/ choreographer Larry Fuller in the world premiere of "J.F.K.,"
a musical drama. On opening night, he was spotted by the powers-that-be at Riverdance
who were looking for a lead male singer for the U.S. national tour. Soon he was
performing at Radio City Music Hall, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and The Pantages
It was during that tour that Michael was asked to perform as lead
singer in the new production of the show on Broadway, performing new works by
Bill Whelan with Tsidii LeLoka of Lion
King fame and Michel Bell of Showboat, both Tony nominees.
sang at Broadway on Broadway for 50,000 people in Times Square and
nationally on NBC, performing with Betty Buckley and with Heather Headley at First
You Dream -- A Tribute to Christopher Reeve, in the New Amsterdam Theater
on 42nd St. in New York. Another highlight was performing the National Anthem
to a sold-out audience at a Knicks-Pacers game in Madison Square Garden.
leaving the show last year, Michael has been writing and performing in Europe
and Africa, touring with Irish singing stars Juliet Turner and Brian Kennedy.
Over the coming months he will head to Ireland for a mini-tour and to promote
his CD. He will sing at the launch of the new Artemis Fowl Book and his
song "Artemis" might just make it to the soundtrack of the new Miramax
movie version of the book.
One of Irelands great musical
exports, Michael is lauded at home and abroad. Barrie Robinson, Irish ambassador
to the U.S., refers to his music as "a unique and outstanding contribution
to the Irish Arts." We couldn't agree more, after listening to his CD! Besides
that crystalline voice, you can hear the musical contributions of the following
Des Moore: Original guitarist for Firedance in
Riverdance (and generally the best guitarist in Ireland!)
Piper of Moving Hearts and Riverdance (one of my idols in my youth)
Harris: Riverdance and best bodhran player in the world, without a doubt!
Skinner: Keys (Grammy nominee, having played on albums for Bette Midler, Celine
Dion, Jewel., etc.)
Ciaran O'Hare: Whistles (Chicago man, great musician
and husband to Liz Knowles of Cherish the Ladies and Ensemble Gallilei, and he's
also a great friend)
Chieli Minucci: Jazz Guitarist to the stars
vocals: Sherry Steele, lead singer from Lagan show, Riverdance on Broadway
singers plus vocalists from the Lion King on Broadway
Pipes and flute. Currently playing in Eileen Ivers band.
We asked Michael to share with the Celtic Cafe community some
insight into the songs that make up this very special listening experience. Here
are his comments about each of the tracks:
wrote this when Eoin Colfer, author of "Artemis Fowl," the worldwide
children's bestseller came to see me on Broadway. Miramax, who have optioned the
movie to be made this year for a spring 2004 release, heard that we were in the
same class all the way through school, so they arranged for the trip. We talked
about both having had relative success in the U.S. and I was totally inspired
by him and the character he created. Artemis is the "anti- Harry Potter"
and can be a nasty piece of work. The song is kind of dark and sounds a bit spooky.
Miramax have heard the song and hopefully it will make the movie. I sing it next
month in Ireland at the launch of the 3rd book in the series which has sold millions
Crown Of Gold
I love going home to spend time with
my goddaughter and nephew. Sarah is a little actress and reminds me of a little
sprite. I miss her a lot and hate not seeing her grow up, but when I get home
I make up for it so we have a lot of fun.
Heart Of the Land
get very mixed up about how I feel about Ireland: Proud, sad, guilt for leaving,
anxious to return but most of all I have a sense of belonging and am aware of
what has happened to Ireland over the years. I love where it is heading now and
despite the problems it has faced, has generally overcome them. The harder the
battle to get there, the sweeter it is when you arrive!
Star Of Cartagena
was in southern Spain last year and was witness to a beautiful Andalucian evening.
It reminded me of the beauty of someone I know who is very sick. I don't want
to get too maudlin, but her strength and beauty is so inspiring to me.
Beneath Her Feet
This is a BONO song with lyrics by Salman Rushdie.
Few people know this song, but the lyrics are just amazing and it is the closest
to an "edge" that I will ever get. It's like Daniel O'Donnell singing
Do You Think Of Me
I live in Chicago
and a lot of the images in the song are based on it. It is about imagining the
end of a relationship. Essentially I am insecure, as every singer is, so I tend
to get carrried away. My relationship is actually 100% healthy. I just love Chicago
by the way.
I wrote this way back when I was on
Broadway. It is a "pop-y" song but I wanted a bit of trad in it. I was
lucky enough to have Declan Masterson, who I have been a fan of for my entire
adult life. That day in the studio, I realised that I had become somewhat successful.
To have Riverdance musicians play on your album is a privilege.
is a story about a kid I know and love who had to deal with his parents breaking
up. He actually came out of it all just fine, but at the time I wanted him to
know I was "watching over." St. Christopher is a reference to the faith
people put in the so-named saint. It always struck me as amazing that people would
blindly trust a golden chain around their neck. It is heartening, I think, that
people have that faith.
I had the chance to record
this with the man who wrote it. John Capek has written for Rod Stewart, Barbra
Streisand, etc., etc. So again, I was thrilled and a little disbelieving.
for a Sleepless Soul
I heard this song through a friend of mine and
then I got to meet the hot young writer who will be a big star one day. His name
is Johnny Rodgers... watch out for him.
I do want to talk about how great
my producer is. Steve Skinner is a Grammy nominee who has produced the soundtrack
of RENT, "From A Distance" for Bette Midler, Celine Dion, Jewel, etc.
etc. I still cannot believe that he wanted to work with me and I keep looking
over my shoulder for the Candid Camera team!
Listen to sound samples of
five of the tracks of this superb CD at Michael's website: www.michaellondra.com
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